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Sunday, May 03, 2015

South Bats Sleep During Week, Wake Up for Weekend

The TVS softball team had a tough week against CCC opponents.  Coach Robinson lamented that the team was hitting well earlier  “...and our defense was lacking.  Now everything has switched around.  If we can get our bats to pick back up, I think we could start making a lot of noise.”  The team did earn wins against Mississinewa Valley and Oakwood, but took their lumps along the way. 

The first team up was Miami East where the team played with the Vikings –they were only up 1-0 until the 6th inning.  But the team faltered late in the game and gave up 4 runs in the 6th inning.  The Panthers could not recover from this deficit and would eventually lose 6-0.  They had their chance at a comeback in the 7th inning where they loaded the bases, but couldn’t score anyone. 

Covington has been playing great baseball this season and seem poised to make another strong run in the state tournament. South gave Covington all they had but it wasn’t enough as Covington would win 10-0.  Still Coach Robinson found some bright spots in the game, “If there's a positive I can take from this game, it's that it took them until the 5th inning to run-rule us (10 runs).  I've been seeing some of their box scores against better teams than us, and they've had that many runs in the first inning.  So I give Hailee Bright credit for being just a freshman, and going out on the mound and doing a pretty good job.  One other really bright spot on the night was the play of Lacey Emrick behind the plate.  She picked off 4 of their runners, either on a straight steal or picking them off at the base they were at.  Covington is very aggressive on the base paths, and Lacey proved that she could keep up with them.

South Softball has had charity games in season’s past and this season the theme was “Swing for the Swing” – to gather money for a new handicap access slide at TVS.  The team was successful in raising over $800 for a good cause, but not so successful on the field.  Ali Robertson had a tough outing and was finally pulled and freshman Hailee Bright took over.  She slowed the onslaught but South had dug too deep a hole and lost 9-1.

After the game coach Robinson commented, “Looking back, I probably should have switched them out sooner.  Hailee's pitching speed is just slower enough, that it sometimes keeps good hitters off balance.  A slower pitcher is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when she throws strikes like Hailee does.  Honestly, we played a great game.  We had no errors and had 7 hits.  We just couldn't seem to drive home the base runners.  We made good contact all night at the plate, but National Trail kept coming up with great plays, defensively.  They are a far better team than their record indicates.

South finally got rewarded for their efforts with a win against Mississinewa Valley.  But they had to play from behind to get the win.  Spotting the Blackhawks a 3 run lead in the early going. But in the last half of the game, South found their groove at the plate and caught up, then passed the Blackhawks. Sophie Cottingim had a big triple to get South’s scoring  started.  The Blackhawks attempted a rally late, but South held the rally to just one run to shut them down for a 6-4 win. Lacy Emerick came back to the game after missing the first portion of the game to take over catching duties and she and Ali Robertson had to work out a critical 7th inning with runners in scoring position.  The duo got the last outs of the night to close the door on the Blackhawks.

Coach Robinson was elated with the victory, “This was a pretty exciting game for us, and it was good to finally come away from one with a win.  This was the second game in a row that we played errorless defense.  Everyone seems to be stepping up at their position right now.  Our outfielders (Shelby Denlinger, Ashley Robertson, Hailee Bright) are seeing a lot of action lately, so they're getting a lot more confidence in their ability to go hard after a ball.  We started the game with back-up catcher, Kelsie Shafer, behind the plate.  She did a great job until Lacey Emrick was able to get to the game

She continued, “I'm so happy for our entire team with this victory, but especially for Ali.  She pitched the best game of her career on Tuesday, against Miami East, but couldn't come away with a victory.  Tonight, she stepped up huge in that last inning to help ensure the win.  I also give a lot of credit to our hitters tonight.  I know they would have all liked to have swung the bat more when they came to the plate, but they stayed focused and disciplined, and stayed with our strategy for the game.  All the girls have been working so hard to get better in every area of the game; I'm just glad they some of their hard work is beginning to pay off.”

South ended their busy week Saturday with a game against Oakwood a member of the big school division of the SWBL.  Coach Robinson admitted later that she was a bit nervous going into the game – they had just won and seemed really pumped up.  But South seemed to have channeled the 1927 New York Yankee’s for at least one game as they erupted for 25 runs and sent the Lumber Jills home early.

Freshman Kelsie Shafer almost hit for the cycle with a double, triple, and home run.  But the home run was a grand slam!  Ashley Robertson had 4 RBI’s as did Sarah Bingham.  Ali Robertson was also the pitcher of record for the win.

Coach Robinson commented afterwards, “It was a great game to get everyone on the team a lot of playing time.  Ali and Lacey did another great job, shutting down their offense.  This was Ali's first shutout of her career.  Offensively, Kelsie Shafer had the hottest bat. This was our third game in a row with no errors.  Everyone, both infield and outfield are really starting to click.  Jayla Taylor has been doing a great job at first base; Sophie Cottingim continues to play solid at second; Sarah Bingham has made tremendous improvement at shortstop, and Kelsie Shafer is starting to settle in as our third baseman when Ali is on the mound.”